When my parents were frail and I was a family caregiver, I had no idea that there was a way I could have taken a trip with them. Beyond a trip to the doctor, that is! If we had gone on a vacation together, I would have wanted time to myself or with my husband doing activities that were too arduous for them. I know, though, that I would have felt selfish and/or too exhausted to enjoy the trip.
I recently heard of a company called Assisted Vacations for Elders that provides trained staff for older adults with physical and cognitive issues, as well as complicated medical management. A registered nurse or other health care professional travels with the family caregiver or meets them someplace. The company can plan a vacation if you want them to, and can provide help round-the-clock or for just a few hours. (You can also use them for a special event such as a wedding.) For at least $50 an hour or $500 for 24 hour care, it's hardly a steal, but it's a good option. They have staff around the world.
If you don't want to pay for professional help, choose places that are easier on an older traveler. A river cruise, or any kind of cruise, has less walking than other types of trips. Besides ultra active, intergenerational and educational vacations, Road Scholar, formerly known as Elderhostel, offers "easy paced" programs.
Here's another option: Get your siblings or find respite care to hold down the fort so you can take a cruise for caregivers (with educational and social opportunities). Caregivercruises.com has four day and, if you're pressed for time, one day getaways.
We may start seeing more of what Regency Pacific is calling its Assisted Living Vacations programs. It gives Mom and Dad a breather without you. Those who live in one of its 40 communities (with different levels of care, including independent and assisted living) can stay free for one week in one of the company's other places. Their communities are in Hawaii, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Also of Interest
- GPS Systems Track Loved Ones on Road Trips
- Slideshow: 7 Classic American Roadside Attractions
- Shopping for health insurance? The health insurance marketplace is now open
- Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being
See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more